External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup also said comments by a senior minister in Pakistan’s Punjab province that action cannot be taken against terror outfits JuD and JeM as the state itself was involved with them corroborated India’s position.
Pakistan is an epicentre of global terrorism and India does not need any lecture from it on its internal matters, India asserted on Friday, reacting angrily to reported comments by Islamabad about the Handwara incident in Kashmir.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup also said comments by a senior minister in Pakistan’s Punjab province that action cannot be taken against terror outfits JuD and JeM as the state itself was involved with them corroborated India’s position. He said the remarks of Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah elucidated the reason for lack of effective action even against those entities and individuals against whom Pakistan has international obligation to act, adding Islamabad must address the “unfortunate reality”.”If the Minister indeed said so, it sadly corroborates the view that we have always held about the support and freedom available to anti-India terrorist groups in Pakistan, including internationally sanctioned terrorist groups and individuals,” he said. The Pakistani minister had also ruled out the possibility of any legal action against the terror groups saying, “How can you prosecute a group with whom the state itself has been involved with?”
“It is upto authorities in Pakistan to address this unfortunate reality in the interest of a normal relationship between our two countries and in broader interest of Pakistan itself,” he said. Asked to respond to Pakistan Foreign Office’s reported comments about protests following the Handwara incident Swarup, in a strong reaction, called Pakistan an epicentre of global terrorism and that Islamabad has no locus standi to comment on such internal issues.
“We do not need lectures from third parties, least of all from Pakistan, which would do well to reflect upon the state it finds itself in, as an epicentre of global terrorism and a country where religious minorities are routinely persecuted,” said Swarup. He said India’s robust and vibrant democracy has enough redressal mechanisms to handle such cases. “The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Pakistan has no locus standi in commenting on matters that are entirely internal to the state of J&K and India.
Protests had errupted in Handwara town and adjoining areas of Kupwara district of Kashmir last month after allegations that a 16-year-old girl had been molested by an army man. The Pakistan Foreign Ministry reportedly criticised handling of the Handwara incident.
Asked whether Pakistan was reluctant to allow a visit by an NIA team to that country to probe the Pathankot attack, Swarup said before allowing the Pakistani Joint Investigation Team to visit India, a note verbal was sent to them saying that it will be on the basis of reciprocity.
“The JIT visit was allowed based on reciprocity. And Pakistan even did not refute it. We made a request to them (for NIA visit). Let’s see what response they give,” said Swarup. He said presure is on Pakistan on the Pathankot issue and that Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had told his Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhry during talks here last month that terrorism is a major issue and Pakistan has to take steps to contain it.
Asked about China investing billions of dollars in building an economic corridor in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Swarup said that area is integral part of India and China has been told to cease all activities there. “Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. Chinese activities in Pakistan Occupied J&K have been taken up with the Chinese side including at the highest level. We had asked them to cease all activities there,” he said.
On whether Afghanistan has conveyed that it would not be part of the satellite being built by India for the region, he said the country was very much part of it. Asked about Vijay Mallya’s extradition from the UK, Swarup said the Ministry was awaiting Enforcement Directorate’s advice on the next steps. The UK has refused to deport the liquor baron charged with money laundering.
On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s talks with his counterpart from Fiji Rear Admiral (retd) Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday, Swarup said both sides discussed a range of issues including strengthening cooperation in solar energy sector.